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Top 5 Reasons that TAG Ended up the way they did....

Discussion in 'TAG McLaren Audio Owners' Forum' started by Tantalus, Oct 21, 2004.

  1. Tantalus

    Tantalus
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    Always been curious about the general consensus of this. As a TAG owner 3 times over, I am very saddened (still) by what happened - loss of forum, loss of Udo, loss of new products etc etc. And in a way it is still saddening to see Meridian (but good for them I guess) to still be in the market. So here then for starters are my top 5 'perceived' reasons. Perhaps Dr Z can give us his own :)

    1. Market decline in desire for High end AV Equipment
    2. TMA failed to 'crack' the American market
    3. Products could have been made more cheaply outside the UK
    4. Lack of HDMI spec - and continual promise and no-show of 'DVD192R'
    5. Products were very pricey against comparitive 'media reviewed' alternatives

    and...

    6. If IAG don't get their act together - existing owners might jump....

    Any agreements / disagreements? :lease:
     
  2. Kenny Glasgow

    Kenny Glasgow
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    Tantalus

    1/.I agree that the market for such gear is in decline. Nearly all the high-end companies have suffered a down turn in sales with the exception of Linn, whose last turnover figure was up, but profits down.

    Denon have just announced that their latest range of "affordable" DVD players will not have SACD or DVD-A playback facility as they state that there is no markewt for them around the £200 level and that they are better off spending the money on the video side.

    2/. Don't know

    3/. Definately true but then would the gear be leading edge, as it still is?

    4/. No, as that was a year ago and no-one could do it then, and most still can't. Read the problems in the Plasma and LCD forums here to see the problems people are having with the "latest" equipment

    5/. Compared against ARCAM, maybe yes. The new ARCAM gear is fabulous. Compared against DEnon, Pioneer etc then definately yes. Against Krell, Theta, Lexicon, Linn etc then no.

    6/. Yes and no, depends on how much money people have to spend!! TAGs/IAGs appearance at the Manchester Show is a start however :clap:
     
  3. Miron

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    one and only reason -> Guy called Mark moaning around all those years :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
     
  4. Thunder

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    1.) To a certain extent
    2.) Again yes to a certain extent
    3.) No, at this end of the market people want their kit built by the best :)
    4.) No as the technology wasnt even available and nobody else had it either
    5.) Not at all. Name another 4K AV processor with the same advanced room EQ capability :D

    Meridian is kept afloat by one thing and one thing only; MLP licensing fees.
    im not saying they dont make great products because they do. But if they hadnt got MLP I would bet that they would be in trouble by now.
     
  5. Tantalus

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    Moaning was always constructive! :)
     
  6. GrahamMG

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    OK I'll bite and in no particular order.....

    1. Massive R&D spend with no profit to offset it even after 7 years.
    2. Very costly factory and manufacturing processes.
    3. The American market simply failed to get going.
    4. Extremely clever people don't always make good marketing people.....
    5. Ron Dennis.......

    I'd also have to say (putting on flame proof suit) that getting units built in the UK isn't the best and certianly not cheapest.....The price/quality compromise for instance in the Far East is rather better than the UK..... F1 design/build/quality has a huge budget behind it (and sponsorship), applying this to hi-fi was great for those of us lucky enough to own the gear but ultimately unsustainable as we all now know.
     
  7. Tantalus

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    Ah Graham, didn't take you long! Yeah I agree with 2 certainly and 1 is at least measurable - a hard fact. Perhaps another is

    6. The business model - concept of upgrading. It eventually I believe turned many buyers away. To explain - AV32R -> AV32RDP upgrades, 100x5R to 250R upgrades were excellent ideas but they were so damned expensive. Many people just sold their SP and bought a 2nd hand DP. The AV192R great product - but very expensive - and many of the 'promised' modules failed to materialise. I wonder how much R&D budget was sunk into that...
     
  8. GrahamMG

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    To be fair, the concept of upgradability was extremely brave and one I personally hoped would make the difference especially with the software updates/upgrades and the "non return to factory" PCB additions. However when we got into the very labour intensive chip swaps/upgrades I am not at all surprised that costs made the customers eye's water as they simply were expensive things to do, but it was cheaper than throwing away the unit and buying new for the majority of customers which has to be applauded and a lot of other manufacturers were worried that TMA might have an edge at some stage in the process.....

    I don't think that many promised modules didn't actually make it into the AV192R, I can only think of two and neither really had (or indeed have now) a market worth the R&D/manufacturing effort........

    The DVD32R was the thing that needed gripping, it was horribly expensive to make and the bullet should have been bitten 3 years ago to make it a universal player even if it meant writing off the original R&D costs, at least they would have "shifted boxes".......
    The AV32R DP is still a great unit and unbeaten in terms of cost/performance and will be a classic, everyone should grab one while they can, the AV192R won't ever have the same appeal but is certianly no less a performer but its greater upgrade potential might now sadly never be fully realised. Of course I can sit back and smile as we have both a DP and a full house AV192R..........
     
  9. Thunder

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    Cant agree with this, the AV32R to AV192R upgrade price was the difference between the two units bought new :lesson:
     
  10. GrahamMG

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    Indeed that is (was) quite correct..... Unless discounts are brought into the equation I suppose, as discounts on upgrades must have been fairly rare but on new units the dealer had a fair margin to play with..... When we decided to have a DP we bought new not for financial reasons but purely engineering ones...We had several upgrades before that though.
     
  11. Neale

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    Interesting thread
    I think their advertising was very poor and cheap compared to the product
    They should have charged for the software upgrades considering how much of the man hours were used. They also didnt bring out an upgraded product each week (slight exageration)
    If I look at things logically I would hate to think what it would have cost to get were I am todaywith Tag
    Would have to have brought and sold about 13 Denons for the upgrades
     
  12. jbm007

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    If cost were so high in the UK then why did Meridian buy their factory and relocate operations there?

    US market was poorly setup by TAG.
    Krell, Meridian,Lexicon still do well here.
    I think market conditions and poor marketing did them in. Some of the stories I could tell...................... If I wanted to be sued!!
     
  13. babaroga

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    Don't worry, it is still UK over here, so say it please ;)
     
  14. maximus_de

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    Hi,

    sorry but i never saw a second hand DP on the German market. Some guys
    sold their processor and bought it new as DP version from their dealer (maybe
    with discounts?).

    Greetings

    Alfredo
     
  15. alexs2

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    Purely as a personal perspective....

    1.The demand and market for high end gear seems to be reasonably solid,given the number of viable manufacturers in that market(Krell,Theta,Lexicon,Meridian etc etc).

    2.Yes,they did fail to crack the single biggest market,and one that really could have provided a solid user base,but that brings you back to the marketing issues raised already.

    3.I'm sure as others have said,profit margins could have been maximised by Far East builds,but the marketing profile was a UK premier company,an offshoot of an F1 team etc,and maybe this just wouldn't have fitted in.

    5.Products were indeed pricey against a lot of media reviewed products,but not when viewed against their competition( some of which I've listed above).

    My own feeling is that the marketing was poor,almost expecting the units to sell themselves,which they managed to do to some extent,but the opposition certainly have better advertising and marketing,especially in the US.
    It's all as has been said,a great shame,as the individual products(with the exception of the DVD32R maybe) stood up very well,and continue to do so,and the support was superb.

    IAG can go one of 2 routes with it...live up to the standard set,at least in part,or let it die,and hopefully not the latter,as they do have the resources and facilities to bring it along,and enter markets that TAG couldnt have.
     
  16. roversd1

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    Answers in no particular order:

    1. I was paid far too much.

    2. The high end cinema market isnt anywhere near as big as you think it is. It is more of a 'club' than a market place.

    3. It was only an experiment.

    4. A certain very long estabished company that has it's products built abroad has to rebuild every single item at it's service facility in the UK before they can be distributed./ sold.

    5. Hifi has to be fashionable again before it will pick up (ask Graham about the 70's) :smile:

    Byeeee....
     
  17. GrahamMG

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    Hi Mark.

    1. I doubt that, I saw the cars you bought :D

    2. Yep, well put.....

    3. Interesting comment, I thought it more of a indulgence/thankyou for previous efforts.........

    4. Someone should get their :censored: kicked before they go the same way or maybe it is so cheap they can afford to do that......Of course those licence revenues do help somewhat......

    5. I think I preferred the 60's but I'm having trouble remembering them :rotfl: Garrard 301/401's and SME arms, Brunell tape decks, Rover V8 :D :D :D
     
  18. GrahamMG

    GrahamMG
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    Hi jmb007.

    Do you know what Meridian paid for the property ;)
     
  19. Thunder

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    Very clever Graham :laugh:
     
  20. Kenny Glasgow

    Kenny Glasgow
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    easy to find out................. ;)
     
  21. GrahamMG

    GrahamMG
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    I'll wager it was a bit of a bargain and of course their old property has building permission for housing.........No brainer really.......
     
  22. life sucks

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    bad startup image made by rebadging audiolab with high prices too, too much investment, whole arogance around f1 story, terrible usa approach, poor marketing and mainly management - ceo is the one who is responsible if the company fails, and this one failed! totaly wrong choice of the distributors and all other things they did wrong. what else would you need?

    on the other side great products, great ideas , some great people, and best customer support, sad sad sad, but life sucks!!!
     
  23. Dr Udo Zucker

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    Hi all, did you ever consider that TAG McLaren Audio wasn't a failure at all? That it achieved it’s goals and that it might have changed ownership because of different reasons than those listed in this or similar threads?

    Let’s look into the history a little deeper: TAG McLaren Audio (TMA) was formed 1997, at a time TAG McLaren Group (TMG) consisted of independent businesses, which all had something in common with F1, although this wasn’t sometimes immediately obvious, as you will see, if you look at the list of some of those activities: F1, sportscar maker, Lyddenhill race circuit, catering, automotive electronics, marketing....

    All of TMG’s businesses were successful in achieving a common goal, set by the overall group strategy. It was the whole which had to prosper, even if it mean loss at one of its columns. And the whole did prosper, year by year and has also since then.

    However, when time went by, it became very clear to the directors within TMG that F1, which was by far the biggest and hence most important activity, would dramatically change in the near future. It wouldn’t be longer possible to stay at the very (financial) top without a very long term agreement with an dedicated F1 engine maker and without such visible, secure future, new sponsors would rather invest with more "stable" teams.

    Of course there is a lot which could be said about F1, but that isn’t my subject - at least not for today, but the facts prove that TMG’s management has been right: there is now a severe shortage of engines and only those teams with a strong engine manufacturer’s link (most often through shareholding) attract the few, world companies which can afford to advertise through F1.



    The link with an engine manufacturer, was btw. "triple" essential for TMG because of its other activities McLaren Cars (MC) and TAG Electronic Systems (TES). MC had just successfully completed the ultimate sports car, the F1, [an amazing car, I tell you, and I was privileged to even having driven it!], but realised that there was only one way to stay in the small scale automotive business in the long term: if you found a car manufacturer you could design and manufacture a sports car for. Furthermore, for TES, whose core business was F1 electronics, the key project was secured - another subject to be talked about another time...



    The solution for TMG’s long term stability and growth(!) was announced 1999, when forty percent of TAG McLaren Group, but with the exception of TAG McLaren Audio, were acquired by DaimlerChrysler (DC). This way, the engine supply for F1 was secured, the Mercedes SLR car programme was born and TAG Electronic System’s F1 electronics involvement was stabilised.

    The new shareholder was indeed very good news for TMG, but DaimlerChrysler, as car manufacturer, didn’t have any interest in audio electronics, in actual fact DC was just reducing their own shareholding in Temic, an large scale electronics manufacturer, which had been added to the companies portfolio during the days of Mr Reuter.

    As a result TMA was spun out of the TMG and hence a long term solution, outside the group had to be sought. However, it was clear, that whatever happened, McLaren wanted to fulfill its given promises "to make the best home cinema system" and to "offer a customer service second to none".

    With the advent of the AV192R, the ultimate AV processor, and the availability of those other many award winning TMA products, which make a home cinema, TMG had demonstrated that it had been able to make "the best home cinema products" and hence were able to succeed in (almost) any technical challenge.

    In addition, don’t forget, there was now very little time left before all TMG companies would relocated to the new mind-blowing McLaren Technology centre, were they would be renamed under solely the McLaren name, to complete the refocus and the new business direction.

    Unfortunately, there was no space left for TAG McLaren Audio. Not because of any wrong doing, but simply because of the necessary shift of the global goal of its parents. All what needed to be completed, was to found the long term support for TMA product owners. Many leads were followed, until the ideal candidate had emerged. And now, with the help of some of the people, who were paramount at TMA, you can still purchase TMA products and receive service for the products you purchase or have purchased in the past.

    As a welcome add-on, with the maturity of the current home cinema technology, TMA products are still at the forefront of technology, as a most recent thread has just proven again. It’s now in the hand of TMA’s new owner, how they decide to maximise the benefits of that excellent starting point. I certainly wish them luck.



    Finally a word of caution, for those few who sometimes pretend to know it better: not everything might be as it seems and the more emotional you approach things, the narrower might be your view.
     
  24. AMCross

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    Here Here Udo

    Good to see you still speak from the heart :)

    It doesn't matter your company built the best and showed the world how things should be done.

    Not every decision was correct in some eyes but you cannot please everybody
     
  25. JetJockey

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    Well........

    Sorry, but i have to throw my views in here also, after a long time absent from the original TAG website.

    With or without the (demise?) of TAG, I still would not own TAG equipment. In fact, all of mine has gone.

    Why? A large number of reasons, some of them small and niggley, some really irritating.

    During spending considerable money on this kit and purchasing the DVD32R at Harrods, I was given "certain" information regarding the availability of said machine. Basically I was misled by the Tag rep. Quite a row developed over this and when I brought the entire debacle to the attention of TAG I was effectively called a liar. I swallowed my pride and pressed on!! :oops:

    Upon receipt the DVD32R was faulty (The old lid problem). It was returned to TAG. They paid the carraige costs after telling me how good it was of them! I felt like telling them that on an item like this they had better ******* pick up the costs but again I held back. Next I got an email saying it was fixed and could be dropped back any weekday. I informed them that this was impossible and that I could only take delivery on a Saturday due work commitments. I was told this could be arranged but would cost ME £24!!! On principle I refused and was without the player for several weeks as a result. :lesson:

    Against my better judgement I later sent the unit away for a PSM192 upgrade. On its return the performance was no better than before it went away. I expressed this view on the web site and was rubbished by TAG. It was even suggested I was not using it correctly (I spent 15yrs as an electronics engineer)!!! More swallowing of pride and more frustration. :rtfm:

    Pressing on, with a will to beleive in TAG :eek: , I sent my AV32R away for a DAB upgrade. On its return, two of the feet were broken and it would not pick up any stations without an external ariel, and even then at mostly 75% strength. Also, MPEG decoding disabled. I informed TAg re the poor reception and was told this was normal for my location. Issuedwith New number for enabling MPEG playback. Told that future upgrades would preclude MPEG audio playback altogether! More frustration and I was not convinced.

    100X5R started buzzing (Toroids) but could not be bothered to send back due to poor performance of carriers. Everytime something was sent away, it came back with the box bashed! Never mind, press on. :rolleyes:

    Back to the DVD32R, which would never play Backup DVD's. Query an upgrade and quoted crazy money, also told no gaurantees re DVD-R playback. Told by TAG to just go out and buy cheapie play it all Japanese DVD player to augment system. This gave friends of mine much entertainment and they lost no time in sticking knife in re £5K DVD player that needed a £150 Pioneer backup player. Patience now running thin. :mad:

    Several other niggles including legendary posts on TAG website with Udo in full " I know where I am going mode", "and if the customers don't like it hard lines". How many arguments were there with "us" opposing the direction that "they" had decided to go in. :thumbsdow

    Several new products promised, which eventually arrive at silly money prices. The AV32R (a great product) was certainly a "lost leader" which got people on board.

    To cut along story short (too late). A relationship with TAG was full of highs and lows just like a marraige. Some of the equipment and features were brilliant. Other bits and pieces were appalling, and this all to often included customer relations. :nono: A divorce was in order!

    The ultimate proof was the purchase of my Arcam equipment. The DV79 wipes the floor with the DVD32R in terms of both picture quality and features. The progressive scan component output walks all over the output from the PSM192. A £329 PURE DR302ES DAB tuner gives far better results that the modified AV32R ever did. It also picks up all stations at 100% strength WITHOUT the amplifier that was needed for the modified AV32R. All of this folks, at a fraction of the cost and without any of the hassle.

    Anyway, thats enough material to get flamed for the next six months (even though IMHO it's all true).

    Cheers, Gerald.
     
  26. alexs2

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    If true,there's no reason for you to get flamed,as that catalogue would be enough to annoy even the most patient.

    Most however,seemed very happy with the customer service provided before,and it would require a lot of others to point this out as the reason for TAG's sale to IAG for it to be one of the major ones.

    I think the views of a lot of the company insiders and users here,seem to come down to lack of foresight,no room/cashflow within the parent company,and poor marketing.

    I think the TAG forum and the views expressed there regarding the "us and them" attitude to users is pretty well known,and was certainly apparent in some quarters from my visits there.
     
  27. Kenny Glasgow

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    JetJockey

    I'm surprised that you're still sane after all that :suicide: You are obviously very patient!!

    For my point of view things could not have been different :thumbsup:

    *I had a problem with my AV32R which Udo personally helped with on Boxing Day one year.

    *My dealer (Stereo Stereo in Glasgow) were fabulous with loan equipment when my AV32 was away being upgraded/repaired

    *The helpdesk (Barry & Mark) were always great with advice

    The products I ahve today from TMA are still as cutting edge as they were last year and I was sad to see Udo & team "go"
     
  28. life sucks

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    Whatever Udo, please allow to disagree,
    no matter how good it was, TMA never achieved profitability and that was the main and only real reason it was sacked. I also herd this from someone who was inside at the time, no reason not to trust him.
    Everything else is just an excuse.
    Life Sucks but it's life!
     
  29. Stevesky

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    Must of been all those heavily discounted TMA products sold to McLaren Group staff that did it... :D
     
  30. alexs2

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    I would have to agree with Kenny regarding the very good quality of help that can be received,and have always found the TAG helpdesk,and also the IAG helpdesk to be fast,reliable and informative.

    On another point.....whilst being happy for everyone to put their views,I don't want this to degenerate into the type of thing that was going on at the other site.
     

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